When geek meets style – Form factor and Usage Innovation using Intel Mobile Products

Who said computers are boring, beige boxes that are kept under the table? Mobile computing is in its infancy and the power of mobility is yet to be experienced in a big way. The fact that you can carry a dual core processor PC with you anywhere you go, and connect wherever you are with other PCs or the web, opens tremendous opportunity for usage innovation. Many end user and markets are yet to use the power of mobile PCs.

Within the Mobile Products Group, to spur this innovation, we are constantly looking at ways to provide the right building blocks of PCs so customers have the flexibility to trade off the key vectors of mobility which are battery life, connectivity, manageability, and most importantly form factor while providing the world’s best performance. The latest Santa Rosa platform is an excellent example of this powerful flexibility!

http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/20070509comp.htm

One of the most important vectors of mobility is form factor and this is new for PCs. Cars, watches and recently mobile phones and MP3 players are increasing being differentiated by usage experience; how it looks, how it is used. That is what is personal about the PC. This is an indication of market segmentation and opportunity. For those of us in the geeky computer industry, this is an exciting opportunity. Imagine what happens when geek meets style! But form factor is beyond style, it can solve end user needs (for example end users want thin, light, powerful, big and mobile, easy to carry, etc).

What is exciting is that the Intel mobile Silicon products and the platform technologies are able to provide this flexibility of usage innovation. To spur innovation, to create new markets, and to provide opportunities for other players in the industry, we develop concepts that showcase new and innovative usages and form factors. These become reference systems to enable the industry. Let me give you just a small sample of these concepts that are inspiring innovation.

Our architects and platform engineers in the mobility group analyzed the workflow of doctors and nurses and found many use COWs (Computer on Wheels). This usage cried for a mobile PC with the same performance. Using Intel’s Mobile Small Factor Roadmap components and technologies from the industry (like RFID reader, camera bar code scanner, tablet input technology, Bluetooth stethoscope etc.) we architected & developed a concept called Oak City.

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The system showcased this usage model in a unique 10.1” tablet platform designed specifically for the new usage. This platform received several design awards (including the business week IDSA award), it was trialed in 3 hospitals around the world, and we worked with Motion Computing to enable this as product in the industry. The performance of the system within the form factor was very critical in its acceptance as nurses/doctors needed a system that had good performance, easy to carry, swappable battery and light weight. http://www.motioncomputing.com/products/tablet_pc_c5.asp

The Zephyros OTG (On the Go) concept is one of my favorites. Realizing that small was in for on the go entertainment, we built an 8.9”W consumer platform that can be carried anywhere, with unique built in DVD for movie playback, with integrated GPS it was navigation device.

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We worked with LandRover to outfit their LR3 with a dock that showcased the concept of docking a Zephyros in a car to provide back seat entertainment and navigation.

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This system won the Red Dot design award http://www.red-dot.sg/concept/porfolio/winners/technology/intel.htm and was used to spur the first round of the new category of UMPCs from Asus, Samsung and Founder.

http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/09/hands-on-with-asus-and-founder-umpcs/

The last example is an exciting concept; Business Week calls it “world’s thinnest notebook”.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2007/tc20070523_272039.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_top+stories

As I mentioned the notebook world is in its infancy and form factor is major differentiator. Thin is in for style. The concept at less than 17mm, with Solid State Drive and accelerometer for providing what we call “Always aware” usages, is inspiring many products.

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This concept has also been covered in some blogs, e.g.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/notebook-supermodel/intel-unveils-worlds-thinnest-laptop-almost-skinny-as-a-razr-263359.php. The exciting idea is the incorporation of a mobile portfolio dock. One such protofolio has E-Ink technology, that we worked with industry vendors to integrated into the system as a Microsoft Side Show device. This provides a variety of “Always On” usages.

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We have barely scratched the surface of mobile computing form factors that spurs style and new usages. Watch out for more exciting work in this space. In the meantime, let me know what you think?

Murali Veeramoney

3 Responses to When geek meets style – Form factor and Usage Innovation using Intel Mobile Products

  1. That’s nice but people wait for *the right thing* – cell phone form factor with the full PC functionality (for example, that runs Microsoft Office 2007 Fluent UI). Apple iPhone didn’t justify these high hopes – it has a PDA form factor and too many limitations. Why not just to add the second touch-sensitive display instead of the keypad for a standard cell phone factor – Motorola RAZR2 (53×103 mm)? And in this design – the iPhone’s screen area is only two thirds of the one of the Cell PC.

  2. Renuka Awasthi says:

    Very cool and exciting products.Thanks for the providig the information about where I can buy them from.